Wednesday, October 01, 2014

US slams Abbas’s ‘genocide’ UN speech as ‘offensive’

Is there hope for the Obama administration yet?

The United States on Friday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations, in which he accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians, saying it was “offensive” and undermined peace efforts.

“President Abbas’s speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties,” she added.

In Abbas’s address to the UN General Assembly, he demanded an end to the occupation, accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza and asserted that Palestinians faced a future in a “most abhorrent form of apartheid” under Israeli rule.

Earlier, Israeli leaders reacted with anger and scorn to Abbas’s address, with one official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office accusing the PA president of incitement.

In his address, Abbas accused Israel of committing genocide in its recent conflict with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip — calling 2014 “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people” — and said that Israel was not interested in living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.

“It’s a speech of incitement full of lies,” an unnamed source from the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hebrew press. “That’s not how someone who wants peace speaks.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement shortly after Abbas’s speech that the PA president demonstrated that “he doesn’t want to be, and cannot be, a partner for a logical diplomatic resolution.

“It’s no coincidence that he joined a [national consensus] government with Hamas,” the foreign minister added. “Abbas complements Hamas when he deals with diplomatic terrorism and slanders Israel with false accusations.

“As long as he’s chairman of the Palestinian Authority, he will continue the conflict. He is the continuation of [late Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat through different means,” continued Liberman.

West Bank settler group foreign envoy Dani Dayan responded to the PA chief’s speech by saying that Abbas was the “broadcaster for Hamas” and that the Fatah party leader had delivered one of his most “libelous, defamatory and self-righteous speeches.”

The former Yesha Council chairman said in English on Twitter that “by using the word ‘genocide,’ Abbas gave up the empathy of the Israeli public, including most of the left.”



Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech

Thank you, Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I've come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we see. I've come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The people of Israel pray for peace. But our hopes and the world's hope for peace are in danger. Because everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march.

It's not militants. It's not Islam. It's militant Islam. Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds – no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it's rapidly spreading in every part of the world. You know the famous American saying: "All politics is local"? For the militant Islamists, "All politics is global." Because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world.

Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some, since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas. To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it's too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.

ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.

Listen to ISIS’s self-declared caliph,Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master… The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism… and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West… By Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.

As Hamas's charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that's why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior.

So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.

And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common: - Boko Haram in Nigeria; - Ash-Shabab in Somalia; - Hezbollah in Lebanon; - An-Nusrah in Syria; - The Mahdi Army in Iraq; - And the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.

Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi'ites. Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century. Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance – Where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Militant Islam's ambition to dominate the world seems mad. But so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept to power eight decades ago.

The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree about who among them will be the master… of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. Therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.

There is one place where that could soon happen: The Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words: We will export our revolution to the entire world.

Until the cry "There is no God but Allah" will echo throughout the world over… And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, have done exactly that.

Listen to its current commander, General Muhammad Ali Ja'afari. And he clearly stated this goal. He said: Our Imam did not limit the Islamic Revolution to this country… Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government… Iran's President Rouhani stood here last week, and shed crocodile tears over what he called "the globalization of terrorism." Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He could ask them to call off Iran's global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone. To say that Iran doesn't practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.

This bemoaning of the Iranian president of the spread of terrorism has got to be one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk.

Now, Some still argue that Iran's global terror campaign, its subversion of countries throughout the Middle East and well beyond the Middle East, some argue that this is the work of the extremists. They say things are changing. They point to last year's elections in Iran. They claim that Iran’s smooth talking President and Foreign Minister, they’ve changed not only the tone of Iran's foreign policy but also its substance. They believe Rouhani and Zarif genuinely want to reconcile with the West, that they’ve abandoned the global mission of the Islamic Revolution.

Really? So let's look at what Foreign Minister Zarif wrote in his book just a few years ago: We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission, which is tied to our raison d'etre… A global mission which is tied to our very reason of being.

And then Zarif asks a question, I think an interesting one. He says: How come Malaysia [he’s referring to an overwhelmingly Muslim country] – how come Malaysia doesn't have similar problems? And he answers: Because Malaysia is not trying to change the international order.

That's your moderate. So don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose, and for one purpose only: To lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran's path to the bomb. The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces, and leave it with the capacity of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran's place as a threshold military nuclear power. In the future, at a time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous state in the world's most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all. It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pick-up trucks, armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction. I remember that last year, everyone here was rightly concerned about the chemical weapons in Syria, including the possibility that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. That didn't happen. And President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syria's chemical weapons capability. Imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic State, ISIS, would be if it possessed chemical weapons. Now imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic state of Iran would be if it possessed nuclear weapons. Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn't let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either.

Because here’s what will happen: Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. It's then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world. There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran's nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it's set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight. It’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.

For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. I want you to think about what your countries would do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities. Imagine millions of your citizens having seconds at most to scramble to bomb shelters, day after day. You wouldn't let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity. Nor would you let terrorists dig dozens of terror tunnels under your borders to infiltrate your towns in order to murder and kidnap your citizens. Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels. Yet Israel also faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war. Because, in an attempt to win the world’s sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools, not just schools - UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel.

As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians.

We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualty. And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, always to enable Palestinian civilians to evacuate targeted areas.

No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies. This concern for Palestinian life was all the more remarkable, given that Israeli civilians were being bombarded by rockets day after day, night after night. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel's citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls – they upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel's soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere.

Now here’s what Hamas did: Hamas embedded its missile batteries in residential areas and told Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to leave. And just in case people didn’t get the message, they executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza who dared to protest.

No less reprehensible, Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play. Let me show you a photograph. It was taken by a France 24 crew during the recent conflict. It shows two Hamas rocket launchers, which were used to attack us. You see three children playing next to them. Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas like this. Hundreds of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a war crime. And I say to President Abbas, these are the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated, or spoken out against from this podium last week.

Ladies and Gentlemen, As Israeli children huddled in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer: Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Priebus has earned right to speak on GOP's behalf about conservatism

Hugh Hewitt

Twenty years ago this week, the famed "Contract with America" was put forward by the House and Senate Republicans of 1994. The Contract committed to voters that, if given legislative majorities in the upcoming elections, the new GOP-run Congress would, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress (1995–96), propose tax cuts, a permanent line-item veto, measures to reduce crime, and constitutional amendments requiring term limits and a balanced budget.

The power of the Contract was not in any of its particulars, but in the promise of speed, action and urgency. Now as the country rounds into the homestretch of the 2014 election contests, the GOP has the wind at its back as the issue set has shifted dramatically in its favor. Adding to existing dismay with Obamacare (extremely high in places like Minnesota) there is a pervasive and deep reawakening of the fear that America has not kept up its defenses, nor its important role in the world.

Sign Up for the Politics Today newsletter!
The drift of Obama has created a draft in which GOP candidates across the country are moving forward and past their Democratic opponents, even when the latter are deeply established incumbent D.C. "lifers" like Sens. Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Mark Udall in Colorado.

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus is already well and rightly known as a agent of massive change within the party, and the "Reince reforms" on the scheduling of caucuses and presidential primaries, the organization of debates, the selection of Cleveland as the site for the 2016 Republican National Convention and an early convention date, are all powering increasing optimism that the GOP will be in a good position to challenge the Hillary Leviathan come Nov. 2016.

But to match the Democrats in credentials and stagecraft in the race to replace Obama in the White House over the next two years, the GOP must retain its majority in the House and gain one in the Senate. And the majorities would not only produce achievement and stagecraft but perhaps also crucial breakthroughs, such as a restoration of some critical funding for the Pentagon and steps on border security that are a necessary precondition to regularization of the millions of illegal aliens in the country.

To set the stage for the climate of urgency and action, Priebus is said to be preparing a key speech for Thursday of this week in which he will lay out a template reminiscent of the vision document of 1994. He is not a legislator of course, but he is the leader of the party nationally, and has earned the right to speak on the party's behalf about the key pillars of conservatism, as governors and state legislators join with incumbents and challengers for federal office. Priebus is actually the only Republican positioned to speak into the media vacuum on behalf of the Grand Old Party right now, so Thursday's address will be an important one.

Let's hope it stresses not just speed in D.C. and a commitment to deep reforms, but an ongoing recognition that a free people are best left to decide for themselves how to use their time, their money and their land, educate their children, choose their health care, and worship their God as they see fit. The military's needs have to be front and center, and the reform of a bloated entitlement state, but mostly Priebus needs to capture the spirit of serious and fast reform, and a refusal to stand by for the last two years of Obama's epic fail bemoaning but not acting.

Watch that space. It will be interesting indeed.



If Republicans run as Republicans they will win

Political pollsters have a tough job. They have to create formulas to determine if the person who they are interviewing is likely or unlikely to vote, and it is within this calculation that their reputations are made.

Typically, those who are likely to vote in an off-year election are pretty set. They are the people who always vote in elections, and a few others who are motivated by specific issues. In a wave election, the numbers of those motivated by specific issues escalates changing the electoral landscape as the candidates who are beneficiaries of this increased participation sweep to victory.

The 2014 election is rapidly looking like something new and different. Democrats are reportedly demoralized by the failed Obama Administration and general fatigue. Republicans, on the other hand, in an orgy of expectation that the primary elections believed the key to taking the Senate was getting the “electable” candidates nominated.

And get them nominated they did.

The establishment got their candidates. Now, they are staring in the face of a potentially disastrous election where their chosen ones dramatically underperform all reasonable expectations, the result of their attacks on their own political party’s base to cement primary victories.

One state party chairman has privately bemoaned that social conservatives in his state openly question why they should bother voting at all. Given the national party’s desire to kick them out of the big tent to make room for a hoped for influx of pot smoking hipsters, who can blame them?

Across the nation, tea party conservatives question the wisdom of being tied to a Republican Party that wants them to just shut up and vote for whomever the establishment decides, and it is this indecision on whether to vote at all, that is at the heart of the GOP’s polling woes.

Conservative voters who have traditionally been amongst the most likely people to vote out of a sense of civic responsibility are disgusted. They are tired of being attacked by the so-called conservative party, and really tired of being treated like second class citizens by the donor and consultant class that controls the official party.

The good news for the establishment is that conservatives want to forgive them for their attacks. They desperately want to vote Harry Reid out of the Senate Majority Leader’s office. They still believe that voting Republican is their best chance to limit the size and scope of government, and to get the runaway federal branch under control. They want to rein in the lawless executive branch and restore constitutional government.

They want to believe that the Republican Party is still the conservative political party and is not just a different gang of thieves looking to plunder America’s pocket books.

Conservatives still believe that America is the greatest country in the world, and that our system of government along with the free enterprise system provides the pathway to future prosperity. Conservatives believe that freedom is worth fighting for, even though, they hate having to do it.

Conservatives believe in the rule of law, and that those who come to our country illegally should not be rewarded for their crimes, being put ahead of those who are waiting in line and following the rules.

The Republican Party has the answer to turn these conservative voters who are currently wondering whether it is worth turning out to vote this election for candidates who have proven to despise them.

All they have to do is read and repeat to conservative voters their own political party platform, and pledge to govern by it. If the Republican establishment candidates actually ran as Republicans, the number of likely voters would swell, and the promise of a sweeping victory in November would be realized.

The next few weeks will tell the tale of whether the national Republican Party truly wants to win a transformative election that is impossible for the left to overturn in the vastly different political environment of 2016, or if they are content with at best a one or two seat majority in the Senate and a pick-up of six to ten seats in the House. A result that is highly likely to be erased in two years.

If Republicans run as Republicans in the final weeks of this election, they still can turn this into a rout. But then, they might have to govern as conservatives, and perhaps they fear that even more than being backbenchers.

Should be an interesting five weeks and change.



For Voter ID Opponents, This Was a Stunning Blow

On Friday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the injunction that had been issued against Wisconsin’s voter-ID law by a federal district court in April. The court told Wisconsin that it “may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.” In reaction, Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official, said that Wisconsin would take all steps necessary “to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election.” The appeals court issued its one-page opinion within hours of hearing oral arguments in the appeal.

As I explained in an NRO article in May, the district court judge, Lynn Adelman, a Clinton appointee and former Democratic state senator, had issued an injunction claiming the Wisconsin ID law violated the Voting Rights Act as well as the Fourteenth Amendment. Adelman made the startling claim in his opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2008 upholding Indiana’s voter-ID law as constitutional was “not binding precedent,” so Adelman could essentially ignore it.

However, that was too much for the Seventh Circuit. It pointed out, in what most lawyers would consider a rebuke, that Adelman had held Wisconsin’s law invalid “even though it is materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).”

It was also obviously significant to the Seventh Circuit that the Wisconsin state supreme court had upheld the state’s voter-ID law in July, since the three-judge panel cited that decision, Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, too. In fact, the appeals court said the state court decision had changed the “balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief.”

In other words, there was no justification for striking down a state voter-ID law that was identical to one that had been previously upheld by both the Supreme Court of the United States and that state’s highest court.

This decision is only on the appropriateness of the injunction that was issued. But in a bad omen for the plaintiffs, the Seventh Circuit said the “state’s probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court.” The appeal “remains under advisement” and the court said that “an opinion on the merits will issue in due course.”

This is also another big defeat for Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in July that the Justice Department would be intervening in this lawsuit. The Department lost a lawsuit that claimed South Carolina’s voter-ID law was discriminatory in 2012, and a federal judge recently refused to issue an injunction against North Carolina’s voter-ID law in another lawsuit filed by Justice.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is in a hard-fought reelection campaign, said after news of the Seventh Circuit’s action came out that “voter ID is a commonsense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process.” Echoing similar claims by state representative JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee, Dale Ho, a lawyer at the ACLU, claims this will cause “chaos at the polls,” despite the fact that there has been no such “chaos” in any of the other states that have implemented voter-ID laws over the past ten years.

What this decision means is that, as Governor Walker said, at least in Wisconsin, it will now be “easier to vote and harder to cheat.” And it adds to the long string of losses suffered by opponents of voter-ID laws. Slowly but surely, voter ID is getting implemented across the country.




The View is a television show that, apparently, a lot of women watch. Currently, Rosie O’Donnell, who was once famous for something–I have no idea what–is one of the hosts. Still, many women watch. So this video of The View’s women grappling with the Obama administration’s response to ISIS terrorism is noteworthy.

I want to highlight O’Donnell’s contribution near the end: We are bombing Syria because Syria has so much oil, so there is a “financial incentive.” What the Hell is this supposed to mean? Why are liberals obsessed with oil? And what, exactly, is the “financial incentive”? Here is the clip, then some further comments:

Click here for video

O’Donnell’s comments are astonishingly foolish. For one thing, Syria has very little oil: it produces less than 1/2 of 1% of the world’s petroleum. Whereas we, the United States, are the number one source of fossil fuel energy. And how would bombing ISIL give the U.S. access to more oil, at rates somehow cheaper than those at which we can develop our own endless petroleum resources? At over $1 million per Tomahawk missile, isn’t this doing it the hard way? Not to mention that, on a best case scenario, we won’t own whatever minimal amounts of oil may be beneath Syria’s soil. (This is a minor, legalistic detail that doesn’t occur to low-IQ liberals.)

So what is the point? What do Syria’s tiny petroleum reserves have to do with our bombing of ISIL? It seems obvious that the answer is: Nothing. Yet liberals are so stupid, or, to be charitable, so irrationally wedded to outmoded memes, that they can’t resist babbling about oil, even as North Dakota produces more petroleum than Syria could ever dream of. What, exactly, is the “financial agenda” behind our effort to retaliate against ISIS brutality?

That would be a fun question to pose to poor Ms. O’Donnell. There is none, obviously. Just as “oil” had nothing to do with our overthrowing Saddam Hussein. But liberals aren’t smart. They can’t let go of a theme they have settled on, no matter how foolish it may be. Is Rosie O’Donnell an extreme case? Probably. But, to paraphrase John Lennon, she isn’t the only one.


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, September 29, 2014

The war on fast food: More medical idiocy

The war on fast food is unrelenting so logic must not be allowed to get in the way.  The claim below that hamburgers etc make you stupid is itself stupid.  All that they have rediscovered  are the familiar observations that poor people are more likely to eat fast food and poor people are dumber.  It's a class finding only.  No effects of the food have been shown.  

The authors were aware of the class issue in that they controlled for maternal education but education is not strongly correlated with income, particularly among women.  Remember those burger flippers with Ph.D.s and the plumbers who live in the best suburbs?  The journal article is "Prospective associations between dietary patterns and cognitive performance during adolescence" by  Anett Nyaradi et al. in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2014

It's no secret that eating hamburgers and fries could affect your waist line but new research has found it can also take a toll on your brain.

Researchers found that higher intake of a western diet by 14-year-olds had scored lower in cognitive tasks by the age of 17.

Within the western dietary patterns, the study found participants with a high intake of take-away food, deep fried potatoes, red and processed meat and soft drinks had negative associations that affected their reaction time, mental ability, visual attention, learning and memory.

While participants who had higher consumption of fruits and leafy green vegetables, had a positive cognitive performance.

Researcher Dr Anett Nyaradi told Science Network  that it could be due to increased micronutrient content from leafy green vegetables, which has linked to enhanced cognitive development.

Dr Nyaradi said several factors may be at play in this diet-related decline in cognitive skills, including the level of omega-6 fatty acids in fried foods and red meat.

Metabolic pathways function best with a balanced 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but the western diet can shift this to a 1:20 or 1:25 ratio, according to Science Network.

Dr Nyardi told Science Network that high intake of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates has been linked to impairment in the functioning of the hippocampus, which is a brain structure centrally involved in learning and memory that increases its volume during adolescence.

'Adolescence represents a critical time period for brain development. It is possible that poor diet is a significant risk factor during this period…indeed, our findings support this proposition,' she said.

Dr Nyardi said that high intake of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates affected learning and memory during adolescents

The University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute observed 602 participants from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study.

Each participant were required to fill out a food frequency questionnaire at the age of 14 to identify the factor analysis of 'healthy' and 'Western' dietary patterns.

When they turned 17, a cognitive performance was assessed using a computerised cognitive battery of tests that included six tasks.



Devolution is needed in America too

The world watched and waited to learn the fate of Scotland following its vote on the referendum for independence. For many other regions within the U.K., including Wales and Northern Ireland; within Europe, including Spain’s Catalonia and Belgium’s Flanders; and states within the U.S., including Vermont, Texas and Alaska; Scotland’s vote energized and inspired separatists’ movements — even though they were disappointed with the outcome.

While Scotland voted “No,” and chose to remain in the United Kingdom, it made enough noise and caused enough concern in London, that, in effect, it won anyway. When the race appeared to be close  Westminster panicked — the “parties went into scramble mode.” They vowed “to introduce legislation to grant Scotland’s semiautonomous government more powers [devolution] if voters reject independence.”

Other groups seeking independence are studying what Scotland did. The “No” vote will not squelch other separatist groups looking for self-governance, rather, it is, as the WSJ called the effort: “a template for conflict resolution.”

While many are reporting on the Scotland vote as a warning for Europe and lessons for separatists, there are important parallels — and encouragement — with the movement afoot in the American West’s rebellion over excessive federal control of land and resources (which was at the core of the Bundy Ranch stand-off).

In the West, the federal government regulates more of the land than the states or private citizens do. Those lands are generally rich in natural resources. Yet, the federal government makes decisions far way, in Washington, D.C., that hold back economic potential, which would benefit the states if they were allowed to be creating jobs and new wealth — resulting in an increased tax base.

As was the case in Scotland, Washington, D.C., has different priorities. If states had more autonomy, more authority over the lands within their borders, they’d make better decisions.

Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, agrees. He told me: “A desire for ‘self-governance’ is hard wired into humans. When asked the question, ‘who should decide the things that affect your life?’ the vast majority of people will answer, ‘me.’ This extends to the idea that local governance is better than edicts from a distant government. People have more power locally.  ‘Who decides? I decide.’”

The federal government has abused — and is abusing — its ability to declare national monuments by putting massive swaths of land out of productive use. It is doing the same with the Endangered Species Act: introducing predators into active ranching regions and using protecting a lizard to prevent oil-and-gas drilling. It claims to be saving potential owl habitat by stopping logging, resulting in overgrown, unhealthy tinderboxes where we see logging resources (and protected habitat and watershed) go up in smoke — polluting the air and water. I could go on, as there are many more examples, but these are some of the causes in which I’ve personally been involved and previously addressed.

Much like Scotland finally had enough of being under the thumb of British rule, the Bundy Ranch story — with total strangers converging in Nevada in defense of a rancher they’d never met — gave voice to an anger that has been building up in the West. Nevada has more federally managed land than any other state — more than 80 percent.

Utah has led the way by becoming the first state to pass legislation that called on the federal government to begin to work with Utah on transferring federals land to the state — as was the ultimate intent of the Enabling Act that called for the federal government to “dispose” of the lands. More than 60 percent of Utah’s lands are managed by the federal government, and those lands are often rich in natural resources. Because the majority of the lands in Utah are managed by the federal government, with much of them off limits to development, the State doesn’t get the benefit of potential economic activity. It doesn’t get the full, possible tax revenue. To help with the loss, the federal government “gives” the state “payment in lieu of taxes” — which are being reduced due to budget challenges in Washington, D.C.

The Sutherland Institute’s  Coalition for Self-Government in the West has a report: Opportunity Lost, which provides an excellent overview of the situation in Utah. Regarding energy resources, it points out: “The geologies of oil and gas reservoirs on federal and private lands in the Rocky Mountains, including in Utah, share many similar features. Indeed most of the production growth of crude oil has occurred in well-established oil fields. These production gains are realized from the application of new technology, such as three-dimensional seismic, directional drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. The Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies are developing new rules for the use of these technologies on federal lands that may impact the ultimate production, and therefore potential economic benefit, of these lands. In addition to the existing layers of regulatory hurdles and related litigation, delays in the implementation of these rules may have contributed to the relatively slower growth of oil and gas production on federal lands already.”

Through The American Lands Council, Utah Representative Ken Ivory has spearheaded Utah’s effort to force the federal government to honor its promise to “dispose” of certain federal lands. The Utah legislation calls for the lands to be turned over to the state as a proposed remedy to D.C.’s failure to perform on its obligations under the contract. Utah lands would then be managed for greater access, health and economic productivity. They could be added to the state tax base and would allow Utah to manage these lands for their best use. Ken told me that at a recent debate on this matter, opponents tried to spread fear about self-governance — much like that spread in Scotland: “The ‘Better Together’ campaign …at times uses scare tactics.” (CNN) But reports show the self-governance approach is legal, and it can be done.

The movement is growing. Several states, like Nevada, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have created task forces to study issues surrounding how public lands controlled by the federal government would be managed if they were transferred to the state. Others, like New Mexico, Arkansas, and Alaska, are working on legislation and/or resolutions. Additionally, legislators in Washington, Oregon and Colorado are looking closely at the issue.

Representative Ivory, and others like him, is pushing for victory. But, even if, as happened in Scotland, the self-governance of federal lands doesn’t happen, a groundswell of support could bring about policy changes that would benefit the West and help states develop their “full economic potential” — which would benefit all of America.

The CSM closes its Scottish independence story with this: “Scotland requires a new approach to economic policy development and implementation, with government working collaboratively with business and others to identify and pursue competitive advantage.” The same could be said for the West.

A report about Scotland, and other separatist movements, in the Business Insider states: “From early on in the campaign they also focused more on making it less about all the things the U.K. is doing wrong and more about how they can do it better.” In the West, we know we “can do it better.” Let your state and federal elected officials know that you support state management of public lands and that you want decisions made at the local level — because we can do it better.



Liberal Incivility and Gabby Giffords

When a gunman attempted to murder Rep. Gabriel Giffords in January 2011, the country was shocked by what was widely interpreted as an act that symbolized the incivility that had transformed American politics. That assumption, which was primarily aimed at undermining the Tea Party movement that had swept the midterm elections months before in the 2010 midterms, was soon debunked when we learned the shooter was an apolitical madman. But liberals have never ceased yapping about the implications of their opponents’ alleged meanness. Now it turns out the person who is doing the most to give the lie to this assertion is Ms. Giffords.

Giffords’s plight in the wake of the shooting engendered the support of all Americans as she struggled to recover from catastrophic wounds that forced her to abandon her political career. Like James Brady did a generation before, Giffords’s valiant recovery from a severe head wound made her the object of the nation’s sympathy and warm wishes. That wasn’t diminished by her activism on behalf of controversial gun-control laws. But as Giffords has begun to realize that empathy for her situation doesn’t translate into a willingness by the majority of Americans to embrace her positions on gun control, her intervention in political races is now taking on the aspect of a political attack dog rather than that of a sympathetic victim.

As Politico reports today in a story that runs under the headline “Gabby Giffords gets mean,” the former congresswoman has taken off the gloves in a series of political ads aimed at taking out Republicans she doesn’t like. In them, her super PAC seeks to exploit the suffering of other shooting victims but twists the narrative to make it appear that people like Martha McSally, the Republican woman running for Giffords’s old seat, were somehow involved or even complicit in violent shooting of a woman named Vicki by a stalker. As Politico notes:

"Some longtime supporters are starting to cry foul. On Friday, the Arizona Republic’s editorial page, which is typically liberal leaning, called the “Vicki” ad “base and vile.” The commercial, the newspaper said, put the murder “at McSally’s feet, as if she were responsible. A murder indictment implied. But, of course, McSally had nothing to do with” the death."

This is rough stuff by any standard but for it to be the work of a woman whose shooting elevated her to the status of secular saint is particularly shocking. Other ads that her group has produced pursue the same specious line.

All may be fair in love, war, and politics but there’s a lesson to be learned here and it’s not just that sympathetic victims can turn nasty if they don’t get their way on policy questions.

The liberal conceit that conservatives have fouled the political waters with their strident advocacy for accountability in terms of taxes and spending was always something of a stretch. While the Tea Party, like every other American political faction, has its share of rude loudmouths, despite the libels aimed at it from the liberal mainstream media it is no more a threat to democracy than its counterparts on the left. But modern liberalism has at its core a deep-seated intolerance of opposition. It was never enough for them to criticize the positions of conservatives or Tea Partiers; they had to skewer them as anti-democratic or supportive of political violence, despite the lack of evidence to support such wild allegations.

Nor are liberals deterred by the irony of their efforts to defame conservatives. As I wrote back in January 2012, even as she issued a call for political civility, Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz falsely linked the Tea Party to the Giffords shooting. So why should we be surprised that Giffords would play the same card as she seeks to demonize and defame those who would frustrate her pro-gun control efforts?

Part of the disconnect here is due to a misunderstanding about Giffords’s personality. Though she is rightly praised for her hard work in recovering from her wounds, prior to the shooting Giffords was never shy about using the most incendiary rhetoric aimed at demonizing her political foes.

The point here is not so much to debunk the stained-glass image of the plucky Giffords in the aftermath of her ordeal. Rather, it is to understand that those who seek to characterize political differences, even over issues as divisive as guns, as those between the advocates of good and those of evil are always doing a disservice to the country. Liberals and many of their cheerleaders in the media take it as a given that conservatives are mean-spirited ghouls who don’t care about the poor or are in the pay of malevolent forces. They then take great offense when some on the right pay them back in kind with similarly over-the-top allegations.

The kind of gutter politics practiced by Giffords’s advocacy group does nothing to further a productive debate about guns or any other issue. But it does bring to light the hypocrisy of liberals who believe their good intentions or inherent virtue should allow them to defame opponents in a manner they would decry as incitement to violence if it were directed at them.

The good news, however, is that voters aren’t stupid. As much as they may sympathize with Giffords, they understand that the good will she earned can be easily dissipated if it is to be put in service to sliming those who disagree with her. Just as trotting out Giffords or the families of the Newtown massacre victims won’t convince Americans to trash their Second Amendment rights, neither will the former politician’s ads enable her to get away with sliming another woman with a mind of her own. Sadly, Giffords’s hold on America’s heartstrings may be over.


The Giffords organization did take the ad down early but said it was only because McSally had changed!  She hadn't.  They just hadn't bothered to find out what her views on guns were.  Facts don't interest the Left.  Lies are much more useful to them.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dissenting from American Liberalism & Conservatism

The article by Razib Khan below is not one that I totally agree with but I agree with his central contention that neither the Left nor the Right give appropriate weight to genetics in their thinking.  Razib is well versed in genetics research and I too take an interest in that literature.  And the more you know about that literature the more you have to shut up if you want acceptance in mainstream politics.

Hardly a day goes by without a new report of some trait or condition being found to be strongly influenced by genetics but that is in the academic literature  and any attempt to inject those findings into popular discourse will be howled down as "racist".  It will mainly be the Left who do the howling but the cultural predominance of the Left in American society intimidates conservatives into being at least silent on the matter.  So in explaining themselves and their policies conservatives  rarely refer to genetics, thus omitting a huge explanatory variable in human behavior.

And I sin muchly in often mentioning genetic facts.  No candidate in either of the main parties would want to be associated with me.  Take the issue of black IQ.  The American Psychological Association is the world's premier body of academic psychologists and they are undoubtedly Left-leaning.  As it is part of what academic psychologists do to be aware of the research literature, however, members of the APA who are interested in the issue know what the research on IQ shows.  So the APA now accepts that the IQ of the average black American is one standard deviation (which is a lot) or 15 points below the IQ of the average non-Hispanic white.  Blacks, in other words have on average a sub-adult IQ.  The APA even put out a special issue of one of its major journals some years back devoted to presenting the evidence for that one SD gap.  See here for more details on the subject.

But getting known for mentioning that gap is career poison.  One thinks of the unfortunate Jason Richwine in that connection.  I am old, retired and financially independent so I run no similar risks.  The only risk I run is of being ignored.  And I largely am. So Razib is right in thinking that neither side of politics has a good grasp of reality.  They build their reasoning on sand

 I had a long discussion yesterday with an individual who has been reading me since 2003. We talked about lots of things. One issue which perhaps I need to reiterate because it’s implicit is that I dissent to a great extent from the premises which underlay both American conservatism and liberalism. Like American liberals I think the life outcomes of many Americans are not due to their choices simply understood. Rather they are the outcome of chance events, whether it be through social background, or, simple happenstance. Years ago I recall Nassim Taleb complaining that people would read The Millionaire Next Door, and believe that by doing everything those individuals did they too could become millionaires, as if there was no random component to such outcomes. The reality is that some people are in the right place and right time. And, some people are born in the right social positions.

Where I dissent from American liberals is the idea that all of the outcomes in our society, in particular inequality, are due to chance or inherited social position (e.g., race or class privilege). In The Son Also Rises Greg Clark reports on intriguing results which indicate that social competence in heritable. To some extent this is common sense. Personal dispositions are heritable, and some dispositions are more congenial to remunerative activities than others. Though many on the Left (though not all) are willing to acknowledge the arguments in Steve Pinker’s The Blank Slate in the abstract, in the concrete they get very little weight when it comes to social policy. To give an example, for many on the Left we can talk about differences between groups (whether it be cultural or biological) only when all social inequality is abolished. The catch in this though is that any persistent differences may also result in persistent social inequality or difference in outcome.

 When it comes to the American Right there are two distinct strands. The first is the child of classical liberalism, to some extent in a more thorough fashion than the American Left. For this element the idea that capitalism is efficient in allocating resources, and that people receive their just desserts due to hard work, becomes such an all-encompassing narrative that other variables are neglected. This was clearly evident in 2008 when some conservative libertarians kept harping on the “free market” mantra because they literally had no other playbook. I recall specifically someone from the American Enterprise Institute on the radio arguing that bankers should keep their bonuses because that’s how capitalism works, even after the bailouts. When confronted by this he really had no response. He was literally dumbfounded. It is as if the market was the ends of the American political system, and all wealth is the product of the market.

Though not as constitutionally hostile to the idea of heritable differences this sort of free market conservatism is not comfortable with the idea that not everyone is born with the same opportunities. The reality is that the liberal Left critique of the nature of the outcomes of a free market is correct in some deep sense, even deeper than American liberals may wish to acknowledge. Some people are born with the genetic deck stacked against them, not just the social one (and of course, as noted above there is a lot of random noise). That undermines some of the moral case for the virtue of the market, since it is not blindly arbitrating the outcomes of our choices, as opposed as sifting based on the accumulated weight of inherited history, some of which is due to the genetic lottery.

 The second strand in American conservatism is that of the Religious Right. The problem that it has is most clearly illustrated by the issue of gay rights. Though logically toleration of homosexual behavior and its innate or non-innate nature are not related, the Religious Right prefers that homosexuality be a choice for the purposes of moral censure. That is because though these Christians believe in original sin, they seem to espouse a sort of moral perfectionism where all men are equally endowed with the same sentiments and preferences (those sentiments being debased by Satan or the Satanic influence of culture). As opposed to Homo economicus, these Christians believe in Homo christianus. Though I personally espouse the bourgeois virtues of the Religious Right, their neglect of human diversity in disposition and sentiment leads us down the path of great disappointment, as many will miss the mark. A Religious Right which focused more on social cohesion in a general and collective sense, rather than personal and individual moral perfectionism, probably could produce better results (yes, it does take a village!). But the American radical Protestant model is fundamentally individualistic, and treats each human as equal and similar before Christ. And there I believe is the folly with moral crusades which attempt to turn every American family into the same American family. Such a world never was, and such a world will never be.

The Left looks to the perfect future which could be. The Right looks to the perfect past which was, and could be.



Media poison about Israel:  Why?

In the last few weeks since the cease fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza many journalists and other media commentators have started to argue over whether or not the Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and so on have been engaged in deliberate acts of distortion in order to present Israel as the villainous aggressor and the people and government in Gaza as the innocent victims of this excessive and criminal violence.

Most of this debate, if one can call it that, focuses on an essay written by Matti Friedmann who used to work for AP.  Claim and counter-claim have been tossed about, some people, including his former bureau chief, arguing that there has been intimidation and coercion from the Hamas-run officials inside Gaza and from their politically-correct sympathizers around the western world, and other reporters working with other agencies and networks have reacted with shock, dismay and anger at being accused of such things, assuring everyone that they are honest, objective, professionals. But then a few of Freidman's fellow journalists at AP, such as Stephanie Butnick, have backed up his story, even adding some further charges of their own.  Is this just a matter of he said/she said and everyone is entitled to their own opinion?

Although I am of the opinion after months and years of scrutinizing the news media, comparing the different sources, and coming to realize the amount of distortion and manipulation involved in demonizing Israel and hushing up the perfidy and fanaticism of the Hamas cause, I think the current debate on the intentions and integrity of the press agencies misses the point.  Everyone believes he or she is right.  It would be invidious to say otherwise or, rather, to collect all the data, make a chart, and draw logical conclusions.  That is not the point.

What is the point?

It is certainly not a question mainly about conscious rational decisions.  In many, if not most instances, the insulted editors and directors of the media probably do believe in all sincerity that they are carrying out their tasks with tact and integrity, while the reporters with a great deal of courage to point their fingers at their (former) colleagues and bosses honestly think they were forced into presenting lopsided versions of the events in the Middle East.  As the old proverb has it, the proof is in the pudding: or, in a more recent formulation, if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks, then it is a duck.  The question has nothing-or rather very little to do with conscious intentions, let alone with beliefs and feelings.

If the proof is in the eating, the pudding has not been cooked well: the ingredients are a poisonous mixture of half-truths and outright lies, as well as of omissions and irrelevant side-issues.  This apparently sweet-looking image of poor suffering Palestinians and blood-thirsty Zionists is a disgusting mess.  Yet the bakers and chefs, along with the waiters and busboys all truly assume that they have been serving up precisely what their public wants and needs.

Overwhelmingly (to lapse for a moment into impressions and statistical charts) the western press has misrepresented the events of the fighting in Gaza-in fact, has not seen the fighting but presented the actions as a lopsided, disproportionate attack on the poor innocent civilians of Gaza; with the score-card of dead, injured, and homeless won by the Gaza people hands down.  Provocative acts in the way of rockets and mortars shot into Israel, tunnels built with funds sent for humanitarian aid used instead for infiltration of Israeli territory, hiding of control and command centres, and storage of weapons and ammunition, and the actual number and identification of body-counts and causes of Palestinian losses all downplayed, if not manipulated, omitted or denied.  Evidence of private dwellings booby-trapped so as to cause maximum secondary explosions, schools and mosques turned into munitions depots, hospital rooms devoted to military functions and a dozen other acts of perfidy have either been airbrushed away or trivialized.

Why can't the major media smell the stench or taste the noxious substance they have concocted? Why do most readers accept what they are served without objection?

First of all, it is because they are operating in an atmosphere of self-delusion, using discourses that do not allow their common sense to function properly, and are caught in a vicious circle of self-fulfilling prophecies.  Post-modernism has provided the media moguls with a texture of specious reality in which to collect the news, process it through distorting lenses, and created as a set of so-called authorities to which they can measure and verify what they have confected.  But this is still on the superficial level of words and images that are constantly rearranged and given new colours and tones, or new artificial flavours to return to our kitchen metaphor.

Second of all, there are layers of contextual history to be folded back and depths of unconscious motivation to be plumbed. In other words, the pudding has to undergo a chemical analysis and run through a physics investigation.  Not only do they not believe they are doing anything wrong or unprofessional.  In their own eyes and minds, they have vehemently doing precisely what they ought to do, what they have been taught to do, what they feel their readers want and need to know.  You can't argue with that.  In fact, they won't allow you to argue with them or to criticise their reasoning powers or their sense of common reality.

Still, deep down, the reality they operate from is not the same as the one most Jews and most Israelis, from personal and family history, from private and public experience share.  Many psychohistorians, historians and psychologists who have been able to engage with terrorists, fanatics and suicide-killers point out-these excitable, traumatized and deluded persons operate within hallucinations and fantasies against projections of their own dysfunctional infancies and childhoods, respond to abusive parents, strict religious upbringing, loss of identity through migration and conflictual socializing.  What they don't react against at the core of their being-though they use these other superficial hurts and humiliations as the rationalization for their violence-is "the occupation," poverty per se, discrimination or prejudice by neighbours, teachers or government officials.  We know that Hamas, ISIS, Al-qaida, and a myriad of other militant, murderous organizations and pseudo-states are, as one says, in a "Bad Place," a confusing and confused place in their own minds.  If they threaten or attack, you don't reason with them: you protect yourself, you attack them, you destroy them.

But-and this is the point we are getting at-what about the journalists, academics, intellectuals who support them, feel they should give them a voice, present not so much their side of the story as their narrative as the replacement for the privileged, colonialist, imperialist, aggressive, demonic other side?  They are "our" journalists, academics, journalists, intellectuals: they are us.  And yet the way they "frame" the news justifies our defeat, or at least the obliteration of Israel, all Jews everywhere, Americans and their allies in Europe and elsewhere.  That is what we can see them doing, but that is not how they see themselves.

To us they are condescending, that is, we are fools and dupes of our own apocalyptic narrative, our lachrymose sense of history, our irrational refusal to accept what we read in the newspapers, see on television, hear them say.  Accused, they are defensive, go into denial, and cry victimhood: The big bad wolf is after them. The troll under the bridge is lurking to grab them and gobble them up.

Why?  God knows! Is there a solution? A new recipe to follow?

I dare not psychoanalyse people I have never met.  The group behaviour does mark out the symptomatic behaviours that seem to justify their willingness to turn against western enlightened values and Judeo-Christian traditions, as well as overlooking manifest signs of evil and psychotic political actions.  For some reason they are duped by the false and manipulated versions of the events in Gaza which non-western journalists, from India, for example, were able to see and then report.  They have somehow or other become susceptible to the suggestions of a sentimentalized and infantilized of the passive Palestinians, and yet seem able, at least partly, to see what ISIS does in Syria and Iraq.  Yet even there we can see hints, clues, symptoms, somewhat blurred versions of the mental disease: the journalists who sympathize with the fanatical causes, who even convert or work for the Islamicist or left-leaning radical networks, who identify with the so-called downtrodden and exploited-at times marry into the clans.  Is this similar to the Laurence of Arabia love-affair with the exotic Arabian cause or the Stockholm Syndrome?

To reverse some of the effects of the post-modernist malaise (or psychosis), it would be necessary for them to climb out of the moment and (re)gain a comprehension of the complexities of life.  The reduction of complicated and significant versions of the Truth to nothing but diverse, competing and equally meaningless "positionalities" requires practice in analytical skills-knowledge of many languages, study of the dynamic interaction of different kinds of cultures, (re)training in the elements of classical logic, Renaissance rhetoric and comparative jurisprudence, as well as studies in the history of religion.  Instead of being satisfied with superficialities and sound-bites the journalist should learn to keep probing, seeking hidden motivations, unseen and often unconscious powers in the otherwise inexplicable and self-destructive behaviour of most peoples.  One is tempted to say, "Give them an old -fashioned education and a good dose of practical experience in the real world" but at least to understand their manifest failures to approach what they say and do with caution.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Friday, September 26, 2014

The resveratrol myth is slowly unwinding

That anti-oxidants in food are good for you has by now been extensively debunked.  There is some evidence that they are bad for you. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, for instance.   And a favorite anti-oxidant is resveratrol.  The latest report:

Pregnant women who have the odd drink should avoid red wine, researchers suggest.  They say that an ingredient in the wine that is normally viewed as healthy could harm their unborn child's pancreas.

Resveratrol has been credited with having protective effects against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and a number of other conditions.

Naturally present in red wine, red grapes and some berries, it is also available as a supplement.

However, a study now suggests it can lead to developmental abnormalities in the foetal pancreas. The study was carried out by the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism and the Division of Reproductive and Development Science at Oregon Health and Science University in the United States.

Lead researcher on the study Dr Kevin Gove said: 'This study has direct relevance to human health. 'Resveratrol is widely used for its recognised health benefits, and is readily available over the counter.

'The important message in this study is that women should be very careful about what they consume while pregnant, and they should not take supplements, like Resveratrol, without consulting with their doctors.  'What might be good for the mother may not be good for the baby.'

As part of the study, Dr Grove and colleagues gave resveratrol supplements every day throughout pregnancy to obese macaque monkeys eating a Western diet.

A second group of obese monkeys was not given the supplement, and both were compared with lean monkeys fed a healthy diet.

The animals were closely monitored for health complications, and blood flow through the placenta was determined by ultrasound.

The foetuses were analysed for developmental abnormalities, and findings showed definitive evidence of pancreatic abnormalities.

The study was published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.



A Potentially Deadly Denial of Reality

The ideologically-inspired bankruptcy of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party remains unrelenting.

Last Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill in the Senate that would revoke citizenship for Americans who join ISIS. Believing time is of the essence, Cruz sought to fast track the Expatriate Terrorist Act, meaning he bypassed the normal Senate committee process. He did so because the Senate is nearing the end of its current session and having the bill go through committee “would mean that it could not pass in time to prevent Americans fighting right now with ISIS from coming back and murdering other Americans,” he said. "There is an urgency and an exigency to this situation,“ Cruz added.

Unfortunately, fast tracking the bill left it vulnerable to defeat if a single Senator objected. Enter freshman Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) who blocked the bill because "legislation that grants the government the ability to strip citizenship from Americans is a serious matter raising significant constitutional issues.” And as surely as night follows day, White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that reports citing an unnamed senior administration official claiming that some of those Americans had in fact returned home were accurate.

There are no exact numbers, but the National Counterterrorism Center estimates more than 100 Americans have gone overseas to join the battle against their own country. “It includes those who’ve gone, those who’ve tried to go, some who’ve come back," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity at a briefing. He sought to reassure the public, insisting "the FBI is looking at them.”

Such reassurances ring exceedingly hollow. The same FBI spent considerable time "looking" at Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, and did nothing. They also looked at Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, before they ultimately decided there was no merit to the Russian warning that Tsarnaev was associating with Islamic terrorists.

The common denominator? The same stifling political correctness likely to render the FBI equally impotent in their effort to keep track of American born traitors.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) epitomizes the logic-numbing contradictions that arise when one seeks to reconcile such political correctness with daunting reality. “One of the concerns is the number of U.S. citizens who have left our country to go join up with ISIS,” he noted during a speech last week. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that.” He then shocked the crowd. “It is also believed that some 40 of those who left this country to join up with ISIS have now returned to our country,” he revealed, also adding the ostensible the reassurance about the FBI “looking” at them.

After that Bishop proceeded to go over the politically correct cliff, insisting that “at the present time, the intelligence is ISIS does not present a threat to the homeland,” even as he hedged, noting that such a reality is “not something that will remain static going out into the future.”

One is left to wonder about the quality of that intelligence. In an interview last week, Director of Intelligence James Clapper, who once told the nation that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular” group that had “eschewed violence," admitted his agency had "underestimated” ISIS’s capacity even as he further noted that he couldn’t provide a timeline about how soon the terrorist group would have the capacity to attack the United States.

Clapper is not anomalous. Last Wednesday, Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, testified at a Senate hearing that ISIS terrorists are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate our porous Southern border, even as he laughingly insisted that he was “satisfied we have the intelligence and the capability on our border that would prevent that activity.” When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pointed out the absurdity of that claim, noting that activist James O'Keefe had videotaped himself crossing the border – wearing a Bin Laden mask in one attempt – Taylor had no response.

Taylor’s cluelessness is apparently shared by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. During a House Homeland Security hearing last Wednesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked Johnson if he was aware of any “apprehensions of suspected or known terrorists” attempting to illegally enter the United States. “Sitting here right now, no specific case comes to mind,” Johnson responded. “That doesn’t mean there is none.” Chaffetz asked Johnson if he knew four suspected terrorists with “ties to known terrorist organizations in the Middle East” were detained at two different locations on the Southwest border Sept. 10. "I’ve heard reports to that effect. I don’t know the accuracy of the reports or how much credence to give them, but I’ve heard reports to that effect,“ Johnson responded.

Johnson does get credit for opposing a plan by the Obama administration to lift an 1983 ban on Libyans coming to America – to study aviation or nuclear sciences. Remarkably, both the State and Defense Departments claim the ban is outdated because such training would help Libyans reconstitute their military. They further insist the screening process preventing potential terrorists from obtaining the necessary visas is much improved, and that the ban in unnecessary because Libya has "evolved” since it was imposed.

Libya has indeed “evolved.” Courtesy of the president’s “leading from behind” campaign that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has evolved into “a chaotic failed state that exists in name only,” in which “radical jihadist groups have free rein," explains former House Intelligence Committee chairman Pete Hoestra. Despite Johnson’s assurances, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte (R-VA), along with Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), have said they will continue moving forward with a bill to lock in the ban. "Libya’s government remains unstable today and the country is becoming more dangerous as rival rebel groups battle each other for control of Libya’s cities,” they said in a joint statement. “It’s necessary that we keep this ban on Libyans in place so that we protect Americans and our national security from threats in Libya.”

And from the Obama administration as well.

In a National Review column aptly titled “A Confederacy of Dunces?” historian Victor Davis Hanson chronicles the track record of Obama administration officials who remain in “resolute denial” regarding radical Islam. They include Clapper and his aforementioned admissions, as well as CIA Director John Brennan, who once dismissed the notion of an Islamic caliphate as “absurd,” and has referred to jihad on a number of occasions as “a holy struggle,” and “a legitimate tenet of Islam.” Hanson also reminds us that former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano gave us the term “man caused disasters” as a substitute for terrorist attacks, even as she claimed “the system worked” when Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to board a jetliner with a bomb that failed to detonate. Secretary of State John Kerry once assured us that Bashar Assad was a “man of his word” and “generous,” before he himself evolved and threatened Assad with strikes that would be “unbelievably small” for crossing a chemical “red line” that both he and Obama subsequently disavowed.

As for President Obama himself, perhaps nothing illuminates a resolute denial of reality better than his contention that the self-identified Islamic State in Iraq and Syria “is not Islamic.” Such utterly pernicious nonsense is dismissed by examples from the Koran itself:

“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (8:12).

“When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful” (9:5).

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth” (9:29).

And while Islam’s defenders point out there ware verses such as “In matters of faith there shall be no compulsion” (2:256), they conveniently omit to mention the concept of "abrogation,“ which posits that later revelations supersede earlier ones.

The verses advocating violence against unbelievers come after the ones urging peace and conciliation.

Yesterday, the Obama administration embarked an a bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. Why the sudden urgency? A previously unidentified terrorist offshoot of Al Qaeda, the Khorasan Group, "was in the final stages of plans to execute major attacks against Western targets and potentially the U.S. homeland," said Lt. Gen. William Mayville, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

That would be the same U.S. homeland that suddenly seems far more vulnerable to attack than we’ve been led to believe by perhaps the worst assemblage of security experts this nation has ever endured. An assemblage that must be dragged kicking and screaming towards the most important reality they continue to deny: time is of the essence.

Every day we pretend that "non-Islamic” ISIS and other terror organizations can be “managed” by airstrikes alone is a day when more Americans recruits can be drawn to a jihad whose attractiveness increases in direct proportion to the Obama administration’s increasingly feckless denial of reality. Make no mistake: we are in the midst of a civilizational struggle. If we fail to meet it with the necessary force and clarity, America will indeed be “fundamentally transformed” – one domestic attack after another.



Should the UN be shut down?

Philanthropist Kenneth S. Abramowitz has issued a call to "save western civilization from itself" by shutting down the United Nations, among other measures.

As part of a general effort to fight the false narratives and terminology propagated by the left wing, Abramowitz says that the UN should no longer be portrayed as an important advance for world peace. In fact, he states, it has been taken over by dictatorships and should be closed.

Abramowitz says that the rational citizens of the West must cease using the enemy's terms - like "Second Intifada" for the terror war unleashed against Israel in the wake of the Oslo Accords, or "occupation" and "West Bank" for the Jewish liberation of the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

Among the most noxious false narratives in the world today, Abramowitz identifies the description of Islam as "a religion of peace" when in fact its terror arms an only be defeated by military means; the belief that a "peace process" will placate Israel's Arab enemies when in fact, appeasement guarantees war - and the claim that the West suffers from irrational, racist "Islamophobia," when in fact it simply exhibits "a normal, rational fear of Islamists - not Muslims."

Abramowitz depicts the global struggle as one in which "rational centrists" in Western civilization are under attack from within - by leftists, as well as naïve isolationists - and from without - by Islamists and the United Nations.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

ObamaCare Devalues Life

Over the last several decades, Americans have statistically had one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. This fact can be attributed to advances in medicine, surgical procedures and lifestyle changes amongst our populace to prolong life. Americans valued life – and most still do. Many Americans, both young and old, have turned to dieting, exercising and taking vitamins and supplements to enhance their immune system to try to live longer. In the words of health policy guru Ezekiel Emanuel, these choices and activities can now be defined as a culture of the “American immortal.”

According to Emanuel, however, “living too long is also a loss.” In his writing he opines that once a person reaches a point in life where he or she can’t contribute to society any more, it’s time for them to consider making choices that will allow them to leave the world sooner rather than later. He argues that since many elderly often become mentally incapacitated and the chances of having a stroke, heart attack and cancer increase, they and those around them would be better off if their life was not prolonged. After all, who wants to be left with taking care of someone who can’t take care of themselves, and who wants to pay for all those medical bills?

“By the time I reach 75,” Emanuel writes, “I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make.” Why should someone who has lived a long, full life need to live any longer?

Because life is precious. Life is valuable. For numerous reasons, humans generally desire to live as long as possible. If we as human beings didn’t place such a high value on life, then why would so many people seek to improve their health, visit the doctor to receive treatment for illnesses, take vitamins and do as much as possible to keep those around us alive for as long as we can?

To be clear, Emanuel does not advocate (at least in the article) for euthanasia, or for physician assisted suicide. But he suggests the burden of an elderly person’s life is not worth the cost to have them kept alive for their last remaining years.

That may be a legitimate question for us to consider individually and with our families as we age, but Emanuel’s thoughts are particularly influential. He is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and he heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. But more than that, he was a chief architect of ObamaCare.

His devaluation of old age is a huge warning sign pointing to public policies featuring the notion that elderly people don’t need to live past a certain point. If likeminded people get their way, writes National Review’s Wesley J. Smith, then “it won’t be so much about choosing not to receive expensive care after 75, but being unable to get it even if that’s what you want.”

Surely this can’t happen, not in America. Not after being told that more Americans have access to better health insurance than ever before. Not after being told that premiums for average households would go down. And certainly not after Barack Obama himself declared that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. But what if we’re told when we can see our doctor? If the recent findings of the Veterans Administration in Phoenix are any indication as to what the waiting list might look like for our entire nation under government run health care – and we think they absolutely are – then we’re in serious trouble.

Regarding the deaths of up to 40 veterans, Inspector General Robert Griffin stated in a recent report, “I think that in our report a careful reading shows they might have lived longer or had a better quality of life” if there had not been delays in care. If veterans have to wait for care and treatment, then what will the wait for tens of millions of people look like under ObamaCare? Will those who have “lived long enough” be moved down the list to make room for younger people?

Bureaucrats can’t make the best choices for you and your family. Individuals should have the freedom to choose which doctor they see and what (if any) treatment to receive (and when to receive it) based on advice from their doctor and family members. Public policies that deny this choice not only devalue life, but deny it. Denying life is one of most egregious crimes against society that a government can commit, and we the people cannot tolerate it.



Hillary Clinton's Letters to Saul Alinsky Prove Her Radicalism

Correspondence between Hillary Clinton and leftist organizer Saul Alinsky was recently made public by The Washington Free Beacon, and it proves the danger posed to this country should Clinton win her as-yet-unannounced bid for the White House. One thing is clear: Hillary is no “moderate.”

Clinton wrote the letters in 1971 while she was living in Berkeley, California, interning at Trehauft, Walker and Bernstein, a leftist law firm that counted the Black Panthers among its clients. In the exchanges, Clinton inquired about the expected publication of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” his work on organizing for socialist change that has since become the bible for leftist activism. “I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about Reveille [for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people,” she wrote.

Of his “Rules for Radicals” (which by the way was dedicated to Lucifer), Alinsky wrote, “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-nots on how to take it away.” Note: If you’re in a middle-class family struggling to make ends meet, Alinsky would have considered you a Have, not a Have-Not.

Clinton corresponded with Alinsky between 1968, when she was a Wellesley student writing a thesis about him, and his death in 1972. Some of their exchanges detailed not only her adoration for his ideology and political strategy, but her thought process on going to law school to work to achieve change from the inside. Alinsky’s view of achieving radical social change was to work incrementally both within institutions and outside them. He recognized, particularly through viewing the failures of the New Left during the late 1960s, that America was not ready for socialism. His methods called for ideological stealth and gradualism under the cover of pragmatism.

While Clinton turned down an invitation to work for Alinsky, she never forgot his guiding principles. She offered only a paragraph about him in her book “Living History,” deliberately playing down the man who obviously figured prominently in her political education. Another fine example of pragmatic cover a la Alinsky was that her Wellesley thesis was sealed from public view until 2001 at the request of the Clinton White House. Alinsky’s disciples go to great lengths to cover their tracks.

Hillary was a principal force in the White House that pulled Bill to the left during his presidency. In fact, it was many of her actions during the early years of the co-presidency that caused Democrats to lose Congress in 1994 and almost cost Clinton re-election. Is there any reason to believe that Hillary has mellowed in recent years? None at all.

A Hillary Clinton presidency would be an opportunity for her and her leftist friends to push their agenda even further than they did under Obama. This country may not survive two Chicago activists in a row. It will be hard enough to undo the damage Obama has done. If Clinton follows him into the White House, it will be like a third Obama term that will embed ObamaCare into our society forever, send the investment class permanently overseas, and leave the economic scraps for her fellow domestic Alinsky disciples.



What Jack Ma Can Re-Teach America

Jack Ma is the founder of the Chinese Internet retailer Alibaba. According to The New York Times, Alibaba is “the world’s largest Internet commerce company, with 231 million active buyers using its site, 11.3 billion annual orders and $296 billion in annual merchandise sales.” Its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange established its value at $168 billion, 2-½ times the size of eBay. But, unlike the fairy tale Ali Baba, Jack Ma is no thief. He has, however, “borrowed” from American ideals we seem to have forgotten in an age of envy, greed and entitlement. Incredibly, he has become a success in communist China, an unlikely place to find such principles practiced.

While there are legitimate concerns over how the Chinese government might capture and use credit card numbers and other information that flows through Alibaba’s website, the philosophy Jack Ma embraced on his road to success is straight from an older and nearly forgotten America.

In addition to business advice, the website has compiled some of Ma’s sayings that are the antithesis of Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book” in which Chairman Mao laid out Communist Party principles.

Here are some thoughts from Chairman Jack:

“What is failure: Giving up is the greatest failure.”

“What your duties are: To be more diligent, hardworking and ambitious than others.”

In modern America we punish the fruits of hard work and ambition with higher taxes and more regulation, forcing many businesses to seek relief by moving overseas. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, “With the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate at over 39 percent, including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.”

To those who waste energy complaining, Jack Ma offers this advice: “If you complain or whine once in a while, it is not a big deal. However, if it becomes habitual, it will be similar to drinking: the more you drink, the stronger the thirst. On the path to success, you will notice that the successful ones are not whiners, nor do they complain often.”

To an older generation these truths are beyond debate and when applied they can improve any life.

Jack Ma has scrupulously avoided politics and advises people in business to do the same, which is probably why the Beijing dictatorship has allowed him to pursue his goals. Apparently, they do not see him as a threat to their hold on power.

Still, the principles Ma used to build his giant firm are ready-made for the Republican Party, which seems to have no positive message and is cowering in shadows for fear of being demonized by media and the left.

Jack Ma has some wisdom on that score. He says you can’t unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can unify everyone through a common goal.

While his message applies to anyone, anemic Republicans could use it most. They should stop whining about President Obama and start focusing on principles with a track record of success.

Unlike in the fairy tale, such a treasure doesn’t need a secret phrase to unlock it. It’s right in front of them and there for the taking.



Ret. Marine General: Obama’s ISIS plan hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding

About two weeks ago, President Obama laid out his ISIS strategy, and he is struggling to garner support - not only from an alliance or coalition (which is lacking, as no one is naming the countries or their level of support) - but also from senior military generals and defense officials, current and retired, who certainly know something about battle. The latest torpedo comes from a former Commandant of the US Marine Corps, General James Conway.

As reported by The Daily Caller, "The man who was the top Marine general from 2006 until his retirement in 2010 says President Barack Obama's strategy to defeat the terrorist group, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is doomed to fail. "I don't think the president's plan has a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding," retired Marine General James Conway, who served as the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps during the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration, said at the Maverick PAC Conference in Washington, D.C. Friday, according to a source in attendance."

You can always count on a Marine to not mince words. Then again, this is something we all knew was the case two weeks ago, when Obama delivered his 15-minute empty speech which focused more on what he was not going to do along with self-righteous indignation in dismissing ISIS' Islamic ideology.

Another highly decorated and regarded US Marine General chimed in on the subject. As the Daily Caller reports, former CENTCOM Commander retired General James "Mad Dog" Mattis told the House Intelligence Committee, "You just don't take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do. Specifically, if this threat to our nation is determined to be as significant as I believe it is, we may not wish to reassure our enemies our enemies in advance that they will not see American ‘boots on the ground.' If a brigade of our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines would strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose."

Even former Obama administration Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has confided in an interview that he was against the withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. So who does Obama listen to? Obviously not the people assigned to key national security positions. I suppose being a complete political animal means he only confides in Darth Vader's sister, Valerie Jarrett. Of course if this were a campaign, then David Axelrod and David Plouffe would be in charge. Maybe behind the scenes, Chicago is still running our country.

We are slowly watching the demise of our nation at the hands of an egomaniacal intransigent ideologue. We will be ultimately victorious, but the pain is going to be rather intense for a period of time.



Obama hits at companies moving overseas to avoid America's high taxes

The Treasury passed rules Monday to discourage U.S. companies from moving overseas in an attempt to escape the nation's ravenous tax laws. They are effective immediately. There was no public comment period, no debate in Congress. One day, Barack Obama was complaining, Warren Buffett was investing in Burger King's inversion and we were making jokes about donut burgers.

The Treasury ignored the true problem of America's failed tax laws, refusing to create a climate that would encourage businesses to return to this country, and instead made polices that would eat into the profits on inverting companies. One swoop, one day and there are more shackles on America's economy. The Leviathan hath moved.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)